Friday, December 10, 2010

Grandma's Attic, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

It's week 31 of Saturday Centus and I'm so ridiculously late to the party that I almost decided to opt out and just wait until tomorrow to start fresh with the next week's assignment.  Then I considered the horrific consequences of not posting a Centus this week. 

First, it would mean breaking a streak of weekly posts going back several months.  Second, the cries of disappointment from my legion of fans (I'm pretty sure 5 is a legion) would be too much to bear.  Lastly, I would likely be cast out of the Centusian bloggerhood and be forever denied all the lovely perks and benefits afforded therewith.

No, I decided I couldn't live like that again.  My life as a Centusian was too good and I could neither go back to the dark days before Centus than I could remove any trace of humanity from my soul and vote Republican.  Nope, not in this lifetime!  I am writing a Centus for this week if it is the last thing I do!  True, it may be just awful, but at least it will be done and I won't have to worry about losing my membership in this most prestigious organization.

For you literary neophytes out there who have yet to experience the glory that is placing electronic quill to electronic tablet and conjuring up tiny stories of 100 words or less based on a supplied prompt, the Saturday Centus is a themed writing meme that you simply must participate in.  Brought forth into this reality during some rapturous epiphany by the incomparable Jenny Matlock at her blog, off on my tangent, it is a fun and challenging exercise in short, concise story writing. 

Something I obviously know nothing about.

The rules include no vulgarity, no illustrations and no splitting the prompt.  The prompt does not count in the overall word count.  Violation of the 100 word limit is punishable by having the Centusians wag their collective pointer fingers at you while repeating “Shame!  Shame!”  After writing your story, you are asked to link it up to Jenny's blog post so that we can all share and enjoy each other's take on the prompt. 

This past week has been the perfect storm of distractions from work, school and elsewhere, and I hope that almost missing my Centus deadline has scared me straight so that I can avoid being so tardy in the future.  This week's Christmas-related prompt was a challenging one.  Jenny gave us the line “the bin of tangled up holiday lights” to work with.  Here is my just-in-the-nick-of-time-though-it-will-probably-still-go-widely-unread-but-what-the-heck story for this week.  I have entitled it:

Grandma's Attic

Grandma Etta loved to save things.

With her passing, her grandson Joe was tasked with cleaning out her creaky old Victorian home.

Musty, but with a faint hint of rose water, the attic was a clutter of boxes containing memories now lost to the ages.  A dim shaft of daylight guided him as he began sorting out which items to keep, give away or toss.

His eyes welled with tears as he opened up the box labeled “Christmas.”  The bin of tangled up holiday lights brought up so many wonderful memories. 

For Joe, Etta was that one bulb that burnt out, leaving the string damaged beyond repair.

Jenny Matlock

"I don't know what to say, so I'll just say
what's in my heart. . . Baboom, Baboom, Baboom."

Mel Brooks



  1. I wondered where you were! I was getting ready to send out the Texas Rangers (no, not the baseball team) You know, they always get their man and all that. Loved your Centus, sometimes late really is better than never. You did a beautiful job capturing his feelings, the first Christmas without a loved one can be devastating. Kat
    (oh, LOVE Mel Brooks)

  2. So good, so touching. Glad you posted for Centus...


  3. Very nice, Tom! I don't have those kind of memories of my grandmother. My mom was the youngest of 10 kids so I think grandmother was just tired by the time we were growing up.

  4. Nice. I love your great imagery.

  5. This was lovely, lovely, lovely.

    And it's good to "see" you!


  6. That was very sweet and very sad, Tom. Glad you made it, fashionably late. We can't truly party without you; we just pretended to. xo

  7. Oh Tom, so glad you didn't break your streak. This was actually quite touching. Not that you're not a sensitive, kind fellow. It's just that I've seen a lot of that wickedly wonderful sense of humor and you surprised me with this one. My favorite of yours.
    I remain, as ever, one of your LEGION of devoted Centus fans.

  8. Love the last sentence. It summed up the story perfectly.

  9. OMG, what can I say! First you come in late, then you stun us with a perfect last sentence...

  10. I'm happy that you decided to write a centus. This was just so wonderfully touching and heartfelt. Great job.

  11. For a tough guy, you really are quite a soft-hearted soul.

  12. An emotional piece...we tend to miss people more after they have gone out of lives.....liked it immensely.

  13. Darn you Tom. You made me cry. It's been that kind of a month so far.

    You've been hiding that tender heart from us.

    Thank you. This was a good message for me today, Tom.

  14. Awww! This was great. I love the last line.


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